$480K Grant Park improvement project starts Thursday in Washington Twp.

Plans are underway to create an all-access trailhead and a paved multi-use path surrounding a 4-acre pollinator habitat, which will include a variety of native wildflowers and grasses, according to Nick Meyer, the park district’s planning and project manager.

“It’s for butterflies, bees, reduces mowing, just provides a great experience in our park rather just seeing a mowed strip of grass,” Meyer said Tuesday. “We have these everywhere in the community parks and ... it’s a way to enhance education along with the environment as far as what a native plant is and the different colors and when they bloom.”

The improved McEwen Road park entrance will increase parking from 11 to 45 spaces while also improving traffic flow, disability access and pedestrian safety, according to the park district, Meyer said.

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The Centerville Rotary Club donated a little more than $51,000 toward the project in conjunction with its 50th anniversary celebration. The club has had a long-term relationship with Grant Park, where they have held service workdays and club meetings, in addition to an existing Rotary memorial area dedicated to the memory of lost Rotary members.

The project includes enhancing the Rotary memorial and relocating it to a more prominent location at the trailhead.

“We were looking for a project that would benefit the community and would help celebrate the 50 years that Centerville Rotary has been contributing to this community,” said Carol Kennard, the club’s 50th anniversary co-chair. “Rotary International may have several areas of focus, like literacy and maternal and child health, but this past year, they added a focus on the environment, and so we just felt like this project really matched all of those things.

“We really wanted to put our money into a project that would benefit people for years to come.”

The project is expected to be completed by early December, Meyer said. The park entrance on McEwen will be closed to visitors for several months while the project is in an active construction phase. Grant Park visitors will be redirected to a park entrance at 501 Normandy Ridge Road.

The park improvements also include storm water wetland creation, which will take place this year. It also includes next year’s planned stream-bank restoration along Holes Creek, which runs through the park.

That portion of the project is funded by a $309,720 grant received from the Ohio River Basin H2Ohio Wetland Grant Program administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. This is a competitive reimbursement grant program that provides up to 100 percent of project funding for high-quality wetlands-focused projects that address nutrient loading and contribute to water quality improvement.

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